my london diary

oct 2003

early in october i took a look at the new city hall, offices for the mayor of london. the top floor - 'london's living room - is open to visitors some saturdays and sundays. it isn't tall enough to get a really good view over london, but still interesting.

the best bit about the building is the stairs, spiralling apparently rather drunkenly down into the assembly chamber.

next door is 'more london', a rather silly name for the latest office development. i walked around this and on into bermondsey and then on to rotherhithe as the weather was fine.

bermondsey has gone considerably up in the world since i first came here. perhaps why the group of boats moored at downings roads is under threat of eviction. reeds wharf has been in use as moorings for many years - since before there was a planning process - but southwark council are now trying to use planning law to evict them.
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on the 10th i was up in london, mainly listening to talks, but there are a few pictures of some of the sights - trafalgar square, soho square, university college, the british museum and the thames.
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the next day i also started in trafalgar square, then walked down whitehall to the foreign and commonwealth office for a little tour around inside. it really is a fantastic building of its type, reflecting an age where britain ruled much of the world and was not ashamed to boast about it in stone.
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on the 13th i joined another thousand or so people from around the country to say no to gmo. we need to be sure that any genetic modification will not be harmful, even if that means extensive and throrough testing. at the moment it looks as if the government will simply give way to commercial pressures.

we went first to the national farmers union, then to downing street (or rather outside the gates to downing street) then on past the houses of parliament to smith square and the department.
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staines isn't the most interesting place to live, and a council that has never really cared much for the town over the years hasn't helped. however it can sometimes look ok on a good day.
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london on a saturday. a walk in the park, a demonstration against child abuse (aren't we all), fine buildings, buses and bicycles. free ocalan! just another saturday in london.
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yet another saturday, and a small crowd outside the indian high commission calls for freedom in kashmir.

later in trafalgar square, the united friends and families campaign supporters gather. these are the friends and families of those - mainly but not entirely black - who have died while in police custody, in prison or in psychiatric care.

roger sylvester, david davies, joseph scholes,christopher alder, ricky bishop, rocky bennett, sarah campbell, mikey powell, brian douglas, james grafton, jimmy ashley, orville blackwood, alphonso coley, wayne douglas, joy gardner, glenn howard, paul jemmott, shiji lapite, alton manning, leon patterson, kenneth severin, ibrahima sey, aseta simms ...

there are some 1500 names on the posters, listing those who have died in custody since david oluwale's death in 1969. on the bottom of the list it says: "there are still more whose names we do not know. sll these individuals have died in the custody of police and prison officers or in secure psychiatric hospitals - many in suspicious and disgraceful circumstances.
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'grants not fees' was the message from the students and their supporters at the NUS demonstration in London. i would never have got to university without our free education system and the grants to cover maintenance. my parents couldn't have afforded to help me.

my father left school at 14, not because he would not have benefitted from further study, but because his family couldn't afford it. he studied further at evening classes later in life but never managed to get the qualifications that would have enabled him to become a teacher or lecturer.

my eldest brother was the first in our family to go to university. it only happened because secondary education became free after the 1944 education act and state scholarships became available for bright working class kids.

my children also benefitted from free education. we've done our bit to repay the state for what they gave us - through educating others, paying our taxes and national insurance and more.
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twenty years after my first walks up the river lea and the lee navigation and i'm doing it again, this time in colour, and the important photography to me - though it may not get on line - is panoramic. here are some of the digital images i took on a ride by a fairly roundabout route from enfield lock to broxbourne and back.

today i'm on the brompton, which means i can cycle fast along the less interesting bits, and also explore more along the way.

the towpath is fine for cycling, little or no traffic - the occasional walker and one or two other cyclists. cyclists do need a permit, but these are free. since i got one i've never been asked for it - though i did get told i needed one several years back when i was just leaning my bike against a canal bridge. some of the roads are a little less friendly.
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some of my work gets put into nice organised websites.

this isn't meant to be like that, but you can see some of the rest at

london pictures
londons industrial history

and you can read what I think about photography at


All pictures on this site are © Peter Marshall 2002;
to buy prints or for permission to reproduce pictures or to comment on this site,

contact me

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Payment may be waived for acceptable non-profit uses.

City Hall

Stairway at City Hall

Moorings at Reids Wharf, Bermondsey, under threat from Southwark Council     more pictures

Some London views, including early morning in Trafalgar Square     more pictures

Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Whitehall    more pictures

Campaigners against Genetic engineering in food on London march      more pictures

Plenty of leaves in Staines     more pictures

Another Saturday in London      more pictures

Commemoration and demand for justice for those who have died in custody     more pictures

Grants not fees for university students - students sit down opposite Downing St        more pictures

Lee Navigation: Enfleld Lock to Broxbourne     more pictures

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